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FAQs - Medical Tourism SA


Choosing an option for medical treatment abroad can be a somewhat confusing process involving a lot of different questions that need to be answered.  Below are some helpful answers to many FAQs that often come up in this process.

What is medical tourism?
Medical tourism can be defined as the arrangement of a journey abroad for medical reasons.  These might include undergoing a medical procedure in another country, or restoring/maintaining health in any other way.  A main reason many people choose to engage in medical tourism is the lower cost or higher quality of medical treatments that are available in the country of their choice.  Typical medical tourism visits include a treatment, recovery time, and the option of an extended vacation.

Is medical tourism for me?
There are many ways to answer this question, but if you are looking for surgical, dental, cosmetic, fertility, or any other type of medical treatment, medical tourism can be an option that allows you to receive quality care at a low cost, while avoiding waiting times and getting the opportunity to relax and recuperate in a pleasant atmosphere, along with the experience of a new country.  If this sounds appealing, then medical tourism is probably for you!

What reasons do people have for seeking medical treatment abroad?
There are many factors that draw people to receive treatment in another country.  These can include the high quality of available care, the low cost of treatment, shortened waiting times, holistic care, and the chance to have a relaxing holiday in a foreign country.  The combination of any of these factors might provide enough of an incentive to engage in medical tourism.

What about the tourism part?
The good news is that Medical Tourism SA makes every effort to take care of all the organising so you can concentrate on your procedure and the restorative holiday that follows.  We strive to help you by taking as much of the stress out of the process as possible, leaving you free to relax and enjoy yourself.  As part of this effort, we are able to organise all the parts of the journey that make for an exiting holiday.  These can include tours, safari trips, a relaxing stay at a spa or resort, or whatever activities or attractions you may prefer – South Africa has a wide variety to choose from!

Why South Africa?
There are any number of reasons to choose South Africa as a medical tourism destination, from the quality of the medical services to the highly affordable treatments, as well as the diverse natural beauty and endless options for a relaxing holiday in a new country, and the opportunity to recuperate away from family and friends.

Why Medical Tourism SA?
Medical Tourism SA specialises in organising and facilitating the most cost-effective and satisfactory medical holiday to Cape Town, ensuring that your stress in minimised and that the journey and procedure are as smooth and painless as possible.  By utilising our years of experience in the travel and hospitality industries, as well as our extensive network of professional contacts, we are able to source the best deals to suit your needs at the lowest possible prices.  This leaves you free to enjoy your visit and leave refreshed and rejuvenated.

What services does Medical Tourism SA provide?
We strive to ensure that all your needs are met from start to finish.  This begins with providing all the information you need in a form that is easy to understand, including providing an initial online consultation with the relevant medical professionals.  We then handle the scheduling of treatment and booking of facilities.  We also arrange all necessary post-treatment care, including the hiring of a nurse if necessary.  For the duration of your stay in South Africa, our team is on hand to assist with tour guides, translators, transportation, accommodation, food, foreign currency, local SIM cards, shopping trips, car hire, airport transfer, and a wide range of leisure activities to keep you entertained on your holiday.

Since starting Medical Tourism SA, how has the business grown in relation to the industry as a whole?
Both the industry and the business itself have grown from strength to strength over the last few years.  Each year we see more and more international clients choosing South Africa for their medical tourism needs, as well as more companies offering the necessary services and assistance. This of course means that things have gotten more competitive, which drives us to continue finding the best possible deals and travel packages for our clients.

What are the target markets of Medical Tourism SA?
Medical Tourism SA caters to a large target market, including many clients from other African nations as well as those coming from the USA, the UK, Europe, and, most recently, Australia.

From where do the majority of your clients come?
We see a lot of clients coming from all over Africa, particularly for reproductive tourism, which is popular in South Africa due to the availability of egg donors.  Many of our clients also come from the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe at large.  A lot of expats also make use of our services.

What procedures are most popular?
Elective plastic or cosmetic surgeries (including breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and liposuction) and fertility treatments are generally most popular among our clients, followed by cosmetic dentistry, opthalmic and orthopaedic procedures, and a range of others.

Why can’t I organize everything on my own?
While you are welcome to tackle the organising yourself, you are likely to find that this requires a significant amount of time and effort, and may even end up costing you more money.  One of the main advantages that Medical Tourism SA offers is years of experience in the  tourism and hospitality industries, enabling us to secure the best deals and smooth any problems you may encounter.

Can I take a friend or a partner with me?
Of course! Your medical holiday can be just for you, or an experience that you share.  Medical Tourism SA is happy to facilitate a relaxing and entertaining holiday for both you and your travelling companion.

What are the risks involved in treatment abroad?
Regardless of where treatment takes place, there are always some risks involved.  Fortunately, thanks to the high standard of medical care in South Africa, and particularly the doctors and clinics with which we partner, these risks are always minimised. During our free online consultation, you will be guided through any and all risks that may arise during or as a result of your procedure, ensuring that you can make an informed choice.

Will I get insurance against complications or other problems?
Insurance can be obtained as part of the treatment package.  For instance, plastic surgeries at one of our partner clinics can be insured against injury as a result of direct actions taken as part of the procedure (malpractice insurance).  Different options can be worked out to give you ultimate peace of mind.

What about travel/health insurance? 
This type of insurance must generally be taken out on an individual basis, so we recommend that you obtain your desired insurance yourself before making the trip.

What if there are any complications?
We understand that when dealing with medical care, safety is the number one priority.  For this reason we partner only with the most reliable and reputable clinics and doctors.  In almost all cases, the risks are minimised and the procedure is completed without any complications.  Naturally, you will be guided through all the risks involved well before the procedure takes place to allow you ample time to make a decision.  During the period of post-treatment care in South Africa, and even following your return home, we will endeavour to address any unlikely concerns or complications that may arise as swiftly and effectively as possible.

Why are healthcare prices lower in South Africa?
The main reason for the low cost of medical treatment in South Africa is the weakness of the rand.  AT around R11 to the dollar (as of November 2014), this means that equivalent treatments elsewhere in the world are far more expensive.  For instance, breast augmentation costs around $8000 in the UK, but only about $3600 in South Africa. More minor treatments, such as botox injections, can be even cheaper – $310 in the UK vs. $70 in South Africa.

What is the quality of healthcare in South Africa?
Legendary surgeon Christiaan Barnard made South Africa’s medical services famous by performing the first heart transplant in Cape Town, and the standards of medical care in the country have not dropped since.  With highly trained doctors and state-of-the-art facilities, the quality of South African healthcare meets international standards.

How skillful and qualified are the doctors?
South African doctors receive the same high standard of training as their counterparts in the USA and Europe, and receive similar qualifications.  Medical Tourism SA partners only with the most highly qualified and accredited doctors.

How long are the waiting times?
Each client is handled on an individual basis, as each procedure is different, but waiting times are generally shorter than in many other parts of the world.

Are blood transfusions safe? What about HIV/AIDS?
Every precaution is taken to screen donated blood for any contamination, ensuring that international standards are upheld and that the risk of infection is eliminated.  South African blood donors are not paid for their blood.

How did Medical Tourism SA choose its partner clinics?
All the clinics with which we partner are carefully selected for their quality and reputation.  A thorough vetting process is used to ensure that each clinic meets the highest standards.  Factors such as doctors’ qualifications and experience, the available treatments on offer, the experiences of former clients, customer service, location, and reliability, are all taken into account during this process.  As no financial contributions are received, you can rest assured that the clinics are chosen based on merit alone.

Do I have to go to see a doctor in my home country before a medical tourism trip?
Depending on the individual case, it may be wise to consult with your own doctor before engaging in a medical procedure abroad, but this is generally not a set requirement.

What about post-treatment care?
Most treatments have standard recommendations for post-operative care and recovery, such as a minimum recommended stay in the country following your procedure.  We strongly advise that these be followed to ensure that the risk of unforeseen complications is minimised.  During our free online consultation, you will be walked through the options for post-treatment care.  These might include assisted recovery in and out of the hospital, as well as a recuperation period at a spa or resort to aid the healing process.  We will also remain in contact with you once you have returned home to address any long-term concerns that may arise.

What health services does Medical Tourism SA offer?
While we are able to organise any kind of medical procedure that you may need, we specialise mainly in cosmetic or plastic surgery (such as breast augmentation), weight-loss procedures (such as liposuction), cosmetic dentistry, orthopaedics, fertility treatments, and many others.  If you are having trouble finding the correct procedure for you, don’t hesitate to let us know, and we’ll do our best to source it for you.

How do I add extra services and activities to my travel package?
In organising your medical holiday with Medical Tourism SA, we will go through all the possible options for extra add-ons to your travel package and help you to choose the ones that suit your interests as well as your budget.  Starting with the medical procedure itself, we will then look at accommodation and transport options in Cape Town, followed by leisure activities, tourist attractions, and any other extra services you may require.

How much will it cost?
Prices differ depending on the specific procedure, but you can be all but guaranteed a significant saving by choosing affordable medical treatment in South Africa.  On completion of our enquiry form, or once you have contacted us with your requirements, we will put together a comprehensive price comparison of various options for treatment, based on which you can make your final decision.  We will also break down the costs of your requested add-ons for your consideration.  All of the above information will be contained in a non-binding proposal that we will send to you based on your initial input.  While exact prices for healthcare can only be determined after the initial consultation, in our experience the actual price rarely varies far from the standard price.

How much would I save?
Again, this is largely dependent on the procedure in question, but given that most procedures are available in South Africa at a fraction of the cost, you can save a substantial amount of money by choosing Cape Town as your medical tourism destination, even after all extra costs are added on.

Can I get reimbursement for my care in South Africa?
Depending on the terms of your specific medical aid, it may be possible to receive some coverage for treatment undergone in South Africa.  It’s best to check with your insurance provider directly to determine if this is the case.

How do I pay for everything?
You will only have to pay for the treatment package once in South Africa.  This allows you to have the advantage of a free, non-binding consultation before spending any money.  If you decide to go through with the proposed package, a deposit may be required on certain aspects of your travel, such as hotel and flight bookings.  Certain clinics may also require a deposit for some procedures.  All payments can be made easily with a credit card or via PayPal.

Are there any hidden costs?
None whatsoever.  Medical Tourism SA is focused on providing the most transparent service possible, ensuring that you know exactly what you are putting in and getting out.  Our non-binding proposal will outline as many of the exact costs involved as possible, and while some of these may vary (such as the exact prices of flights or specific medical procedures), we do our best to ensure that our initial estimates of standard prices are as close to the real things as possible.

What should I do next in order to proceed with Medical Tourism SA?
Getting in contact with us is easy. Fill out an online form, send us an email, or ask us to phone you.  We will respond as soon as possible to answer any questions you may have and begin organising your medical holiday immediately!
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